There are a few health conditions, which are often mistaken as serious complications. The lack of knowledge or sometimes too much of knowledge results in unnecessary worries and concerns. That is the case with heart murmurs. Whenever a doctor tells a parent that your child has a heart murmur, they get scared. But, the fact is that heart murmurs are very common. In most cases, it does not cause any harm. It is true that there are cases where they indicate a bad sign. But, rare cases. Want to know more about heart murmurs? Read on.
What Is A Heart Murmur?
All of us know, the way our heart works – lub-dub, lub-dub. Even though we consider them heartbeats, they are, in fact, the closing of the valves that control the blood flow in the heart chambers. The heart goes ‘lub’ with the closing of the valves that control blood flow from the upper chambers to the lower chambers. The ‘dub’ happens when the valves controlling blood going out of the heart close.
However, in some people, the blood makes an extra noise as it flows through the heart. This sound is called a murmur. If there is turbulence or disturbance in the blood flow through the heart or blood vessels, a murmur may be heard. It is often heard as a whooshing sound between heartbeats. Thus, the ‘lub-dub’ may sound like “lub-shh-dub”. However, the extra sound is simply the sound of normal blood flow moving through a normal heart. It means that even a healthy heart can produce murmurs. These types of murmurs are found in many kids. There isn’t anything to worry about it as their heart works normally.
The doctor may diagnose heart murmurs during a routine check-up. The pediatrician listens to heartbeats using a stethoscope on different areas of the chest. Doctors rate heart murmurs on a scale of 1 to 6 based on how loud they are. While Grade 1 indicates a soft one, Grade 6 shows a loud one.
Are Heart Murmurs Normal?
The common heart murmurs are known as innocent heart murmurs or functional murmurs. As we said, a healthy heart can also produce innocent murmurs. Always remember that innocent heart murmur is not a sign of anything dangerous. It is the sound of blood moving through a healthy heart in a normal way.
If the doctor diagnoses innocent heart murmurs in your child, there is nothing to worry about. These murmurs disappear as the child gets older. Or they may last throughout your baby’s life without ever causing further health problems. You don’t need to restrict him/her from any physical activity. The kid doesn’t require any special treatment or diet. Thus, most murmurs do not affect a child’s health at all. But, there are some murmurs, which signal a serious problem in the heart.
What Is Wrong If It Is Not An Innocent Murmur?
It can be a sign of a heart problem. An abnormality in the structure of the valves or walls of the heart may lead to some medical complications. Apart from a heart murmur, some kids may have other symptoms such as rapid breathing, failure to thrive, or difficulty feeding. A pediatric cardiologist can identify the root cause of the murmur. With the help of a chest X-ray, EKG or an echocardiogram, the doctor will evaluate your child’s heart as part of the further examination.
Causes Of Abnormal Heart Murmurs
Valve abnormalities: This happens when the heart valves don’t function normally, disrupting the smooth blood flow. They might be narrow, too thick or too small.
Heart muscle disorders: Because of the abnormal heart muscle, the blood pumping will get affected. The heart muscle might be thick or weak.
Septal defects: A hole in the wall between the heart’s lower chambers affects the functioning of the heart. Small holes may close on their own. But, bigger holes may cause murmurs along with other symptoms.
Worry not, even if your child is diagnosed with a heart problem, treatment is available to cure it. With the advancement of medical science, your doctor will be able to prescribe the most appropriate treatment.